F1 journalists sent Google Drive link containing ‘Christian Horner evidence’

Christian Horner was cleared of 'inapproptiate behaviour' by a Red Bull GmbH investigation ahead of the 2024 Bahrain GP

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A folder supposedly containing evidence against the backdrop of the Red Bull investigation into Christian Horner has been leaked to Formula 1 journalists after the team principal was cleared of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ ahead of the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

There’s no added context to the evidence so far or confirmation of validity but Total-Motorsport.com can confirm the folder has been sent, around 24 hours after parent company Red Bull GmbH released a statement saying they consider the Horner case closed unless there’s an appeal.

Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer broke the news of the leak on Twitter, while veteran F1 reporter Joe Saward also took to social media to announce: “Well, we have full meltdown…. The F1 world has just been sent half the story. If the WHOLE story comes out it is going to be really ugly…”

The Google Drive contains multiple images of WhatsApp messages allegedly between Horner and a female Red Bull employee, as well as photos supposedly taken by Horner himself, and now has the attention of the FIA and F1 Management who are discussing the matter, say the BBC.

Horner later responded with a statement, saying:

“I won’t comment on anonymous speculation, but to reiterate, I have always denied the allegations.

“I respected the integrity of the independent investigation and fully cooperated with it every step of the way.

“It was a thorough and fair investigation conducted by an independent specialist barrister and it has concluded, dismissing the complaint made. I remain fully focused on the start of the season.”

What was Horner investigated for?

Red Bull announced their investigation of Horner in early February after allegations of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ were made by a female employee.

No further details have been offered but there were theories that it was either sexual misconduct or bullying and harassment, and there’s even been rumours of a £650,000 settlement from the Dutch publication De Telegraaf.

Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner ahead of the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Horner continued to carry out his duties as Red Bull boss while the investigation was ongoing, including facing the media at the team’s car launch and pre-season testing, as the team aimed to close the investigation before the start of the Bahrain GP.

Red Bull released a statement on Wednesday evening concluding the investigation ahead of free practice beginning, but the evidence leak – if confirmed to be genuine – will at least keep the topic in the headlines for longer.

“The independent investigation into the allegations made against Mr Horner is complete, and Red Bull can confirm that the grievance has been dismissed,” Red Bull‘s statement closing the investigation read.

“The complainant has a right of appeal. Red Bull is confident that the investigation has been fair, rigorous and impartial. The investigation report is confidential and contains the private information of the parties and third parties who assisted in the investigation

“And therefore we will not be commenting further out of respect for all concerned. Red Bull will continue striving to meet the highest workplace standards.”

What has the rest of the F1 world said?

Red Bull Racing personnel have insisted the investigation isn’t a distraction to the team as they prepare to try and follow up the most dominant season in F1 history.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both said they’ve been concentrating on their own performance in testing and free practice at the Bahrain International Circuit, as they appear to either be holding back performance or the RB20 is closer to the chasing pack than first thought.

Daniel Ricciardo, who’s enjoyed a strong relationship with Horner for the majority of his two stints under the Red Bull umbrella, backed his character and said he feels for Horner but hopes the right outcome happens.

The investigation’s conclusion was understandably the main topic of the team principal press conferences that took place just hours before the leak, though Horner wasn’t scheduled to attend.

Instead, Toto Wolff and Zak Brown both urged Red Bull to be transparent with the investigation with the Mercedes boss criticising the initial announcement.

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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